I remember wishing that I wouldn’t be picked to lead a team, group project, or committee simply because I didn’t want to pay the price for leadership and influence. As this poem implies, sometimes we want to refuse the honor of influence and let someone else lead. Unfortunately, we have done that too many times, and now there is a vacuum of influence that is being filled by people and forces that I don’t want influencing those I love. This poem doesn’t delve into the cost of choosing NOT to influence. It’s a high price. So, when offered the chance to influence, my friends, may we take up the honor, face the hardship and criticism, and lead our followers toward righteousness and integrity, toward truth and faithfulness, toward love and unity, and toward growth and maturity. Will we face aggression, injury, and wrong? Yes, the criticism will come. Leaders suffer. May we never leave a vacuum of influence for the world to fill because we decided influence was too difficult and too costly for us to possess. Vacuums get filled. We can’t afford to falter in our calling or give away what was ours to do.
I wish every person (instrument) in a boy’s life would be positive tools for molding him into a man. Notice that the list doesn’t include a rough and tough, muscle-building, self-made instrument. The best men are those who humbly know life is not about them. Eventually, boys become men who, in turn, become instruments to the next generation.
When a mom gives birth, she invites pain in multiple ways for a multitude of reasons. We welcome our children to this world only to let them go to start new families and pursue their futures. We spend so much energy being present that when it comes time to feel their absence, the change can be crushing. The solution is to grab God’s hand, sit at His feet, discover His joys for our lives, see Him clearly, and be near to Him. Be still. Look and know. And the heart will follow.
Hey kiddos, I have a thought for you and a warning. They contradict one another, but they also play off of one another in an important way.
First, here’s my thought: “There is no such thing as a second-generation Christian.” We hear the phrase second-generation Christians often in our circles. In one sense, the phrase reminds us of our rich heritage, and you kids have been gifted with a rich, godly heritage. Your great grandparents and grandparents and parents have laid a deep and sincere foundation of biblical living in front of you. But, no Christian is a Christian based on the generation before him. You know this. But…don’t forget this when you begin a family of your own. None of us can ride on the coattails of our previous generation. Your children need you to remember this! Christians don’t begat Christians.
Second, here’s my warning: “Third-generation Christians are in danger of being overexposed and underdeveloped.” And here is the seeming contradiction. Yes, I said there is no such thing as generation Christians. You’re right. So I will re-phrase it. Any Christian is in danger of being overexposed and underdeveloped. No matter your heritage. No matter your parents or grandparents or great grandparents position on biblical truth and faith. No matter how you spin today’s culture in your mind and heart to excuse shifts in standards and beliefs. No matter what circumstance God ordains for your life. None of these thoughts and realities is what makes you decide how you choose today to live and believe. You kiddos happen to be four generations strong…at least for now. Time will tell whether you remain true in your faith, courageous in your beliefs, and fervent in the gospel. Time will tell whether you continue to apply truth to life’s choices or fall for Satan’s tactics and let your guard down by allowing bits and pieces of error in your thinking and home. None of us can ride on the coattails of the previous generation of Christians.
You’ve heard much Bible in your lifetime. Your education through college, home, church, neighbors, and community saturated you with Bible truths. I’m so glad you did get the saturation; but, kiddos, you have to do your part in developing. God grows you, but you water and weed in the process. Remember again, none of us can ride on the coattails of anyone or anything. You are adults now so whatever Bible saturation you continue in your life is your choice. I can’t make those decisions for you. (This blog doesn’t even count since you still have to make the decision to read it.)
My heart’s desire for you is that you continue to walk in truth. Not out of duty to your heritage. Not out of a desire to make the parents happy. I pray God’s truth becomes your mantra today and tomorrow and for your lifetime.
Every delivery room has an orchestra of noises: groans, cries, screams, yells, songs, whispers, and cheers.
The cry of a heart, no matter the occasion, is universal. Recognized. Known. Understood. It runs deep and lands raw.
Joy or sorrow. Love or hate.
Mercy or bitterness. Fight or fright.
The mother in the backdrop story lost her child, and her heart cried. The mother in the blackout poem gained a child, and her heart cried. It’s the music of living.
The concerts of life flow from the rhythm of our hearts. It is a beautiful and gut-wrenching sound that brings depth and meaning to our life. Live and love hard. Moments make music.
At first this blackout bothered me because this poem switches from second person to third person. The overactive grammarian in me screams, but the wanna-be philosopher in me smiles. It represents an important natural phenomenon in life: what we do today (second person action…YOU) becomes the reputation we have in our tomorrows (third person results…HE, HIS). What people say about you in third person tomorrow is largely due to what you do in second person today. My sons know that no matter what they do or don’t do, I will never stop loving them. What I want them to know also is that what they do or don’t do today matters in their tomorrows. You don’t have to do something to be someone, but those third person conversations are only favorable when you choose to be a worthy second person doer. Sons, I pray you desire to frame that third person reputation around God’s glory so the portraits you capture today in second person reflect those desires. “He….starts with YOU.”